Treatment of real reactive dyebath effluent comprising of an exhausted reactive dyebath and its sequential rinses with electrocoagulation (EC) using aluminum (Al) and stainless steel (SS) electrodes was investigated. The experimental study focused on the effect of applied current density (22-87 mA/cm(2); at an initial, optimum pH of 5.5) on decolorization and COD removal rates using Al and SS as electrode materials. Results have indicated that the treatment efficiency was enhanced appreciably by increasing the applied current density when Al electrodes were used for EC, whereas no clear correlation existed between current density and removal rates for EC with SS electrodes the treatment efficiency could only be improved when the applied current density was in the range of 33-65 mA/cm(2). It was established that EC with SS electrodes was superior in terms of decolorization kinetics (99-100% color removal after 10-15 min EC at all studied current densities), whereas EC with Al electrodes was more beneficial for COD removal in terms of electrical energy consumption (5 kwh/wm(3) wastewater for EC with Al electrodes instead of 9 kWh/m(3) wastewater for EC with SS electrodes). (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.